Since (a) last Thursday was a rough day, and (b) we are trying to maximize the "us" time that we have before Jake heads to Ft. Riley, Howie and I packed up Thursday night and went to spend a long weekend with Jake. Jake is in a training rotation right now, which means long hours and the total inability to be more than 20 miles away from post. If he looks tired in the picture above, it's because sleep has been in very short supply this month. Some days I seriously wonder how Jake functions! But, of course, he is awesome, so there you have it.
Jake had to work all weekend, so we had to snatch hours together wherever we could get them. On Thursday, we went to Ft. Polk to have lunch with Jake, which was the first meal we'd had together in two weeks! After that, Howie and I went back home for Howie's nap (he slept for four hours that day!!). Before Howie woke up, Jake came home. He'd managed to convince someone else to cover for him so he could take the baby to the park and have dinner with us...before getting right back to work.
On Saturday, it was much the same drill. We met Jake for a stop at the park and some lunch, and then we met him for dinner before we drove back to Houston Saturday night. It sounds rushed as written, but it was one of the slower weekends we have had in a while. It was very nice, actually, and the only thing that would have made it nicer would have been more time with Jake.
So for reading purposes, this was not a very interesting weekend. Why did I bother? Because I took some pictures of Jake and Howie at the park and I wanted an excuse to post them. I think I was just looking for a reason to document "normal," since soon it will be hard to come by. Also, these first few photos are a cute illustration of the thought progression that goes into teaching a toddler:
Step One: Illustrate. Jake tries showing Howie how to climb the little rock wall to get on the play structure:
Step Two: Motivate. Jake is at the top, encouraging Howie to come up to him, and explaining what he needs to do to reach the top.
Step Three: Capitulate. Seeing that Howie simply does not understand the abstract concept of one foot in front of the other, Jake climbs down and and helps him move his feet.
After that, Howie got it and climbed the wall a couple more times himself. It even emboldened him to try climbing a few other things. The lesson here--sometimes it's good to admit defeat and try a different tactic.
After a long day (er...forty-five minutes) of climbing, the boys sat down for a nice quiet chat. I don't know if they were discussing the meaning of life or the chicken nuggets Howie wanted for lunch, but I do know this: I watched a little bit of the weight lift from Jake in the time he spent with our baby boy. And I silently resolved to make sure that somehow, whether in person or virtual, we keep that interaction a regular part of our week, even when we are living far apart.